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February, 2016 |

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Amazon Selling Its Own Clothes Actually Makes a Lot of Sense

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Sysco Corporation (SYY) could soar to $52 in a year, analysts say

By the analyst ratings alone, Sysco Corporation (SYY) is not attractive to say the least. It has a mean rating of 3 on a scale in which 1.0 means Strong Buy and 5.0 means Sell. The stock is rated as buy by 2 analysts, with 2 outperform and 7 hold rating. The rating score is on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 stands for strong buy and 5 stands for strong sell.

For the current quarter, the 12 analysts offering adjusted EPS forecast have a consensus estimate of $0.41 a share, which would compare with $0.4 in the same quarter last year. They have a high estimate of $0.43 and a low estimate of $0.37. Revenue for the period is expected to total nearly $11.86B from $11.75B the year-ago period.

For the full year, 11 Wall Street analysts forecast this company would deliver earnings of $1.96 per share, with a high estimate of $2.04 and a low estimate of $1.86. It had reported earnings per share of $1.96 in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the period is expected to total nearly $50.08B versus 48.68B in the preceding year.

The analysts project the company to maintain annual growth of around 8.51 percent over the next five years as compared to an average growth rate of 15.25 percent expected for its competitors in the same industry.

Among the 10 analysts Thomson/First Call tracks, the 12-month average price target for SYY is $43 but some analysts are projecting the price to go as high as $52. If the optimistic analysts are correct, that represents a 20 percent upside potential from the recent closing price of $43.26. Some sell-side analysts, particularly the bearish ones, have called for $34 price targets on shares of Sysco Corporation.

In the last reported results, the company reported earnings of $0.45 per share, while analysts were calling for share earnings of $0.41. It was an earnings surprise of 9.8 percent. In the matter of earnings surprises, the term Cockroach Effect is often implied. Cockroach Effect is a market theory that suggests that when a company reveals bad news to the public, there may be many more related negative events that have yet to be revealed. In the case of earnings surprises, if a company is suggesting a negative earnings surprise it means there are more to come.

Sysco Corporation, through its subsidiaries, markets and distributes a range of food and related products primarily to the foodservice or food-away-from-home industry. It distributes a line of frozen foods, such as meats, seafood, fully prepared entrees, fruits, vegetables, and desserts; a line of canned and dry foods; fresh meats and seafood; dairy products; beverage products; imported specialties; and fresh produce. The company also supplies various non-food items, including paper products comprising disposable napkins, plates, and cups; tableware consisting of china and silverware; cookware, such as pots, pans, and utensils; restaurant and kitchen equipment and supplies; and cleaning supplies. In addition, it distributes personal care guest amenities, equipment, housekeeping supplies, room accessories, and textiles to the lodging industry. The company serves restaurants, hospitals and nursing homes, schools and colleges, hotels and motels, industrial caterers, and other foodservice customers. As of June 27, 2015, it operated 197 distribution facilities in the United States, Bahamas, Canada, and Ireland. The company was founded in 1969 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

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The Dish: Talking food with Ferrell Alvarez, owner and chef of Seminole Heights’ Rooster and the Till

In the restaurant world, an amuse-bouche is a treat sent to your table by the chef. Usually one bite, rarely two, it’s something of the chef’s creation that sets the tone for the meal, a glimpse at who is behind the food. Think of this new feature as just that. A collection of questions we will ask chefs, cooks, caterers, cookbook authors, journalists, purveyors of food and drinks and anyone else who is passionate about food, to give you some insight into how they feel about what’s on the table.

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Our first installment features a chef whose excitement about food is palpable. Born in Baltimore but raised in Tampa, Ferrell Alvarez is the 37-year-old chef and co-owner of Rooster and the Till in Seminole Heights. This isn’t where you go for familiar restaurant staples like chicken Caesar salad. Rather, the menu is sophisticated, edgy, deliciously unfamiliar: Juniper duck sausage, boiled peanut and pork dumplings, chorizo-crusted octopus, falafel spiced tofu, potato and oxtail pierogi, plus a chalkboard full of fresh raw and cured shellfish. The atmosphere is at once rustic and elegant: reclaimed wood, exposed beams and ductwork, light fixtures fashioned out of old farm equipment. The cooks are accessible, working behind the bar in full sight of diners, so interaction with the people preparing your food is not only possible, but encouraged. Just one more way to get to know the faces behind the food. Here’s part of our conversation with chef Alvarez.

What does food mean to you?

It’s my art. It’s what I do well. I enjoy creating and preparing food and watching the faces of people as they taste it. Our kitchen has no barriers, there’s nowhere to hide. Diners can see how we operate like a well-oiled machine. It’s a cool, open, interactive environment.

In deciding on menu items, do you try to please your guests or yourself?

It’s a balance of both. I always want to do new, creative things with ingredients that are available locally. I definitely don’t do safety food. If it’s trendy and doing well in the market, it won’t hit my menu — unless I find a way to turn it into my own thing.

Do you cook at home?

Absolutely. I have two days a week when the three of us are at home together (his fiancee, Nicole, and 11-year-old daughter, Eva) and have a normal family life. But, Nicole is the primary chef at the house and I really enjoy that.

What do you all like to eat?

Lots of healthy, homemade things. Not food out of boxes, although I bring food home from the restaurant sometimes. We’re busy, so we keep food fresh, simple and rustic.

Do you have a tricked-out kitchen at home?

Not really. It’s nicer basics. A convection oven, KitchenAid equipment.

Monster outdoor grill?

Very much so. We have a large property with a pool and we grill out a lot. Lots of parties with friends and family and staff. My staff are family to me so I host them quite often. We smoke meats, cool sausages, pork butts, wild boar shoulder. Lots of low and slow things. Lots of grilled vegetables.

What’s one food, dish, flavor or ingredient you couldn’t live without?

Acid and salt, since we do a lot of fatty, rich things and acid, citrus and vinegars cut through that. I couldn’t live without it and salt.

Do you have a favorite food?

No, I love so many things from really good barbecue to foie gras and truffles. I like really well-balanced, thoughtful food.

What’s your least favorite food?

Vegetables that are overcooked.

What’s a perfect meal?

At home it’s chicken cutlets with lemon, fresh green beans from a local farm with garlic and olive oil, and oven-roasted potatoes with rosemary and chunks of onion.

Have you had anything delicious in Tampa Bay recently — outside your restaurant?

Brunch at the Refinery, twice recently, it’s awesome and they’ve done some recent renovations, so it’s great. Dinner at Cena in Channelside; it’s rustic and modern Italian with a phenomenal pastry program and chef Michael always throws down for us. My daughter, who is very food focused and is offended if you give her a child’s menu, loves Ella’s American Folk Art Café in Seminole Heights. She also loves Bern’s dessert room. When we go out, I try to keep my money at independent restaurants and businesses. We don’t do chains.

Any food trends you’d love to see go away?

Overuse of the buzzwords farm-to-table, artisanal, handmade, when they are just used for marketing by people who don’t fully understand what they mean. It should mean you are sourcing from nearby farms and gardens that are doing business with transparency with honest policies and ethical practices and not spraying a bunch of c— on the food.

Who would you love to see walk in the door of your restaurant?

Oh, man, there is an immense list of chefs I’d be honored to cook for. But most of all, I love to see local Tampa Bay area folks coming in who want to support what we do.

Irene Maher, Times staff writer

Know a chef, caterer, cookbook author, journalist or other local food and drink purveyor we should interview for this feature? Email food editor Michelle Stark at or Irene Maher at

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7 Must-Have Colorful Kitchen Accessories

When it comes to our wardrobes, we’ve got the “pop of color” philosophy down to a science. Brightly colored bags and jewelry paired with neutral foundational pieces makes for a versatile, unique and aesthetically interesting closet. Those same principles can totally be applied to home decor. We love the idea of a kitchen, all marble countertops and clean lines, accented with punchy appliances, utensils and serving ware to liven up the space. Below, you’ll find seven of our most beloved bright essentials for a colorful kitchen.

1. Bruer Coffee Cold Bruer ($80): This cold brew coffee maker is as beautiful as it is functional and demands to be kept on the kitchen counter 24/7. The bright bits of cobalt are the perfect complement to the natural black and brown of the coffee.

2. The Heated Golden Gate Bridge Dish Towel ($14): This cute hand towel deserves a place of prominence on your oven’s door handle. That red-printed Golden Gate Bridge is so well done, it looks like an art print meant to be framed. And hey, if you have a friend headed out west, this is a perfect going away gift.

3. Flamingo Spatula ($12): We bet you never knew you needed a flamingo-shaped spatula until you saw this flamingo-shaped spatula. Spatulas are probably the most essential kitchen utensil, right behind a good knife, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have fun with the essentials.

4. Nine-Piece Nest Set ($50): Color on color on color: If you have a hard time choosing a favorite one, these nesting bowls will satisfy your indecisive streak. And maybe even better than the fun colors is the fact that they’ll drastically cut down on the clutter in your cabinets.

5. Mosser Glass Crown Tuscan Mixing Bowl Set ($65): For a mixing bowl set with a more retro vibe, these cotton candy-colored glass ones are a sweet option. They’re a perfect bridal shower gift for your most girly friend.

6. Candy Rock Cupcake Platter ($22): There’s only one way to make this cheery cupcake platter more fun: by adding a sweet treat, of course. The geometric design gives it a modern edge and the bright yellow will add a pop of color to any kitchen counter. Use it as a serving platter for any mini snacks you may have on hand.

7. Now Designs Mineral Mug ($7): Mix and match these earthy color choices for a custom mug set. Break out the whole collection when you have overnight guests and let everyone choose their favorite color for morning coffee (it’s the little things, right?!).

What’s your favorite colorful kitchen accessory? Snap a photo on Instagram and tag us @britandco so we can see!

About the author

Megan is a RVA-based writer and stylist with a profound love of the semi-colon, Taylor Swift, vintage sequins, modern art, vanilla-scented perfume, library books and her cat, Stormy.

Find Megan Parry at

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New and unique gadgets for the kitchen and home

The International Home and Housewares Show gets under way this weekend in Chicago.The annual event showcases many new and improved items from well-known household companies, as well as new and up-and-coming businesses. Consumer expert Steve Filmer showcased the following products:

Hobby Holster, Hot Iron Holster and Lil HolsterThese holsters are made from 100% silicone andare designed to hang from countertops and tables. Great for small spaces and while traveling, the Holsters hold a variety of items throughout the home from a hot iron, to a glue gun, sink sponge, TV remote, make-up brushes or even a pair of glasses. The Holsters’ patented suction technology allows them to be repositioned and applied to any clean, dry, and smooth surface. Can be applied vertically and horizontally. Silicon flap doubles as a work surface. Comes in a variety of colors.

Bialetti Sapphire Cookware CollectionBialetti’s new line of cookware features Nanotec™, a breakthrough nanotechnology that makes the coating’s surface ultra-durable and safe for use with metal utensils. Dishwasher safe, brushed stainless steel, safe for all cooktops, including induction stoves. The collection includes variable size sauté pans, a dutch oven, and sauce pans. Individual pieces or 10-piece set available.

Cuisinart® Single Serve Brewer– New item!Choose your cup size: 6, 8 or 10 oz. and brew a cup of coffee or tea in a flash! Removable drip tray makes it easy to fill travel mugs. Forty ounce reservoir holds enough water for multiple brews throughout the day. Kcup compatible and compatible with ground coffee filter. In a rush? The 30-minute auto shutoff makes morning departures worry free!

Fresh Wave® ProductsNew!Fresh Wave products are the healthy alternative to air fresheners. They use simple, pure and natural ingredients — water and natural extracts of lime, pine needle, aniseed, clove and cedarwood — to get rid of odors. No covering up with harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances or alcohol. Fresh Wave goes way beyond being an air freshener and actually removes the odor at its source. Learn more about the Odor Removing Candle, Fresh Pod and more!

Farberware EdgeKeeper™ Knives – Never worry about using a dull knife blade again! The new Farberware EdgeKeeper knives with innovative technology keep the blades razor sharp with every use. All EdgeKeeper sheaths feature a built-in knife sharpener that automatically sharpens the blade every time you take it out, or put it into the sheath. This means the blade sharpens itself every time you use it. So, whenever you reach for your Farberware EdgeKeeper knife, you’ll be assured the blade is razor sharp and ready to cut, mince, slice, and dice with ease.

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You want to cook. You need to cook. Now you can’t see. Here’s what to do.

Taught to be fearless in the kitchen by watching Julia Child on television back in the 1960s, Priscilla Elfrey is no slouch when it comes to cooking, from classic French cheese souffles to West Indian callalloo, and she especially loves preparing the pasta dishes that she fell in love with while traveling across Italy alone when she was 60. But when she was recently declared legally blind as a result of macular degeneration, she switched from boiling handmade pasta to pan-frying gnocchi.

“I have very poor depth perception,” she explains. “I’m concerned I might accidentally put my hand into a pot of boiling water — so we don’t really eat spaghetti anymore.”

Priscilla Elfrey is my mother, and on a recent visit back home to Cocoa Beach, Fla., I was surprised to find out that she’s no longer boiling pasta. Watching my mom — who raised me on a well-worn edition of Larousse Gastronomique — make any concessions in the kitchen was startling, but this is a woman with enough technical know-how to still turn out delicious meals. It’s certainly not a disappointment to find freshly pan-fried gnocchi on the plate.

But for many people without good vision, navigating a kitchen can be a daunting prospect that can dramatically affect daily living. According to Brandon Cox, former senior director of rehabilitation services at Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind, or CLB, people who can feed themselves have better chances of staying healthy and succeeding in other ways, whether it’s traveling alone to medical appointments or finding meaningful employment. “Our goal is to create taxpayers,” he says.

Considering that 70 percent of working-age blind adults are unemployed, that is potentially a lot of taxpayers.

The National Federation of the Blind estimates that as many as 10 million Americans are blind or visually impaired. That number is expected to double over the next 30 years as baby boomers age.

Organizations such as CLB, which serves people in the Washington area, are trying to help with hands-on courses that get people with low vision back into the kitchen through a combination of commonsense techniques and cookware designed to help with once-ordinary tasks that have become tricky, such as mixing cookie dough and boiling pasta.

Alvon Smith, a 57-year-old District resident with vision loss resulting from diabetes, was encouraged by his doctor to sign up for a two-week CLB class in December. By the eighth day he was pulling a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies out of the oven, the first cookies he’d ever baked.

Smith refers to baking as a “woman thing,” but his teacher, Karen Levin, chides him gently as she nibbles on a sample still warm from the oven: “You can say that if you like, Smitty, but those are some good cookies.”

Levin knows that those cookies represent much more than just a tasty snack as she guides Smith — who lives in a world of light and shadow — through the various steps of baking, from spooning dry ingredients into brightly colored measuring cups to spacing dollops of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

As a vision rehabilitation therapist, it’s Levin’s job to help people who have become visually impaired feel that they have better control over their lives even while living with a disability. Based at an apartment in the Fort Totten neighborhood, she and colleague Dean Stonecipher shepherd clients through the CLB’s Foundations of Adjustment to Blindness (FAB) program, teaching such skills as housecleaning and navigating the Metro system.

Cooking and grocery shopping are important features of the course. “Vision loss,” Stonecipher says, “is adjusting to a major life loss. People become isolated within their homes and within their communities. We want to go from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can.’ ” For even a person who was once an accomplished cook, a simple task such as making — and pouring —a cup of coffee can present a range of difficulties, from measuring the beans and getting them ground and into a filter to adding cream and sugar to the cup.

Each morning during the most recent course, clients arrived — most by Metro — and helped get coffee ready for the group. Then Levin laid out the menu for lunch and assigned tasks.

On the first day, they started with making simple sandwiches while she introduced them to the kitchen, which Levin has organized to be more accessible to people with vision loss. Cabinet shelves are labeled in Braille — in this group, only one person,Gloria Cooper, was learning Braille — and utensils, serving dishes and pots and pans are grouped together to make them easier to locate. The key is keeping items in the same place all the time: Memory is the tool most used by those with low vision.

Cooper, 62, lost her vision in 2002 after a series of strokes. “I cried for 48 hours straight,” she says while chopping broccoli under Levin’s watchful eye. Today she’ll make steamed broccoli with shredded cheddar cheese, while Smith is responsible for oven-baked barbecue chicken — and those cookies. James Roane, a 79-year-old from Silver Spring with macular degeneration, will take on a wild rice pilaf.

“So much of the time, we’re teaching our clients about communication,” Levin says. “You have to tell your family to keep all the stuff on the counter and in the fridge in the same place, not move things around.”

She and Stonecipher are also training clients to ask for help — by, for example, going to the customer service counter at the supermarket.

Smith learned from Levin not to just ask for help, but to be specific.

“Before this class,” he says, “I would have gone to the store and just asked for eggs and milk, and I would have bought whatever they gave me. Now I know to say that I want 12 medium eggs, and I want the ones that are on sale. It makes me feel like I have more control.”

As Cooper grates cheese, it’s clear that she revels at being in the kitchen again. “I miss cooking,” she laughs, “because I’m a health nut! I like to know what I’m putting on my plate.”

Most visually impaired people see shadowy shapes and little or no color, so they benefit from kitchen equipment that provides sharp contrast, such as a cutting board that is black on one side — a perfect backdrop for slicing onions — and white on the other — which could be just right for chopping carrots.

“There are a lot of simple tools that can make cooking much easier,” Levin says, and the Fort Totten apartment’s kitchen includes many of them, including oversized black-and-white timers, serrated plastic knives and cut-resistant gloves.

Levin spends considerable time teaching kitchen safety tips such as keeping fingertips curled away from the knife, using elbow-length oven mitts and attaching heat-resistant fabric strips to the edges of oven racks to help prevent burns. The oven itself is preset to 350 degrees: Clients can easily adjust the controls up or down to get to an intended temperature.

Perhaps no one is more familiar with such tools and techniques than Christine Ha, a best-selling cookbook author and winner of the “MasterChef” television competition in 2012 — who happens to be blind. Modern appliances, she says, with smooth touch-screen surfaces, can pose real difficulties for the visually impaired, requiring tweaks such as attaching small adhesive dots to help identify “on” and “off” buttons and temperature controls.

Ha’s success in the kitchen is inextricably linked to her other senses: “You can hear when a pan is hot enough by the sizzle,” she says, “you can smell when the garlic in the pan goes from raw to fragrant to burnt, you can feel when vegetables are becoming tender over the fire, and you definitely should taste your food as you cook to properly season.”

Levin gave Smith the same advice when he told her about the one dish he used to enjoy making, spaghetti with meat sauce. “How do I know if the meat’s cooked?” he asked on the first day of class.

Levin told Smith that he would need to use a fork to press the meat as it cooked, measuring how the texture changes, and also rely on his sense of smell. “By the end of this program, you’ll be able to make your spaghetti,” she assured him.

“Still slimy,” he declares on Day 8, testing the barbecued chicken with a fork.

Back from an outing on Metro with Stonecipher, Roane shoos everyone aside as he starts to prepare the pilaf. “You all got to get out of the way now, ’cause I’m getting ready to roll,” he chuckles.

“The tough thing about our jobs is [that] we don’t have a lot of time to be kind,” Stonecipher says, “so we can be sort of strict, just to keep everyone moving along. But I really enjoy watching them grow in confidence. You can see it in their smiles.”

You can also see it on their plates.

At graduation on the final day, each client prepared favorite dishes to share with family and friends. Cooper made a green bean casserole and baked potatoes, while Roane offered up meatballs and garlic bread.

And Smith must have caught the baking bug, because he made brownies for dessert — preceded by his spaghetti with meat sauce.

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SOBEWFF 2016 Grand Tasting Village: "It’s Because of Rachael Ray That We’re Here."

Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentis waves to adoring fans.

The South Beach Wine Food Festival’s founder and organizer, Lee Brian Schrager, made quite the statement about celebrity chef Rachel Ray on Saturday. “There is nobody more loyal, honest, fair and genuine than Rachel and she has been my biggest supporter, and it’s because of Rachel that we are here with all of you,” he said. Schrager was introducing Ray, who was doing a live cooking demonstration at the Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village yesterday afternoon. 

Once the star got on stage, she said “I love you Lee,” and made the audience laugh with a self-depracating comment. “The kitchen is so weird for me because I’m so short and this stove is literally boob-high so this can get freaky and uncomfortable at some point.” Ray then said that when the festival first started 15 years ago and Schrager asked her to participate, she felt like she didn’t belong amidst the most talented toques in the industry, but that Schrager made her feel comfortable. He even asked her what she’d like to see at the festival and her idea was to get the best chefs to make meals and put them on buns, and serve some beer with them so everyone can enjoy. And that folks is how Burger Bash was born. 

During her KitchenAid sponsored demonstration, Ray chose to make her mom’s favorite lemon spaghetti, and she had her husband up there helping her. Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis took the stage before Ray, and, like last year, the slim chef was asked about her weight. Someone from the audience took the mic and said: ‘I hear you should never trust a skinny chef.” In response, De Laurentiis flashed her signature grin and said she looks the way she does not because she restricts what she eats, but because she limits her portion sizes. She also said she works out regularly and that it’s partly genetic because her mother is also petite. 

The Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village was extra crowded this year.

Attendees who purchased a $225 ticket to this event because they wanted to see the Food Network’s biggest stars, likely got their moneys worth. However, if you came to the Grand Tasting Village mainly to eat and drink, you may have been disappointed because the tents were unbelievably crowded this year. The lines to get food and drink were twice as long as they were last year, and the sheer number of people was overwhelming at times.

What ended up happening at a lot of food stations was once you arrived to the front of the line —- you had to wait even longer for the chefs to actually get the food out. That said, there were some standout bites, including a personal favorite: short rib with jalapeño mash from BLT Prime in Doral.

The short ribs with jalapeño mash from BLT Prime in Doral were excellent.

This year’s participants were mainly from South Florida, and there were many familiar faces. Jimmy’z Kitchen, Coyo Taco, Blackbrick, Buns and Buns, Chef Adrienne’s Vineyard Restaurant Wine bar, and Haven were all represented. 

Follow Valeria Nekhim Lease on Twitter and Instagram 

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